It’s about time that October is here- yes, the time when the biggest drawing challenge of the year kicks in.
Since, it is focused more on practicing, let’s make the practice involved in #Inktober2020 a little fun by experimenting with different ideas.
However, before delving into the experimental ideas, let me answer the basics about Inktober for the ones who are not familiar with this challenge.
Let’s get started!
What is Inktober?
Inktober is an annual drawing challenge created by Jake Parker which is held every October for the purpose of encouraging artists to build a habit of drawing daily and improving their skills.
Every year a list of prompts is released and the idea is to draw something based on that list. However, people are free to follow any other list or create one of their own. If you’re going to follow the official list, make sure that you’re using the hashtags #inktober and #inktober2020 to get noticed.
Here is the list of official prompts for #inktober2020:
Doesn’t the idea of participating in a challenge along with a ginormous community of artists sound exciting? It sure does. And improving on your skills along the way is in reality a cherry on the top.
Choosing the medium
Traditional is typically the first preference of artists heading over to participate in this challenge. Although the challenge has now extended over to Digital art as well, you will still find the hashtag flooded with traditional inking.
If you think traditional art is the way to go, you might want to invest in some good supplies, including (but not limited to):
Oh yes, we are already here. If you’ve been working with the digital medium for a while now then drawing on paper everyday might seem like a challenge. However, Digital Inking is a skill on its own and since the challenge is all about practicing, you are free to practice and improve on the skill of you preference.
In case you have decided to opt for this particular medium, you can make use of the following softwares which are really good for inking:
- Adobe Draw (available on tablets and mobile devices)
- Adobe Illustrator (available on PC)
- Autodesk Sketchbook (available on PC, tablets and mobile devices)
- Procreate (available on iPad)
Choosing the supplies
Traditional Inking Supplies
Sketchpads and Journals
This depends on the choice of paper that you’re going to use. However, plain paper is thin and will most likely bleed. Sketchpads with paper over 120 gsm are the ones suitable for inking.
The Moleskine Art Plus Sketchbook is a great choice with paper that is 165gsm, it can easily withstand heavy ink and markers.
Another one is the 90 lb journal from Strathmore, meant for mixed media. It’s one of the best out there.
Brushpens and Markers
For Inking, you’re most likely going to need black pens and markers. Apart from that, if you’re looking for adding a bit of tint, you can make use of some shades of grey.
Inks and Brushes
The best inks are generally the dark tinted Indian inks. The ink from Winsor & Newton is one of the best. Again, for brushes, you can opt the same brand or go with any other alternatives which are available locally.
It’s never a bad idea to add some highlight to your drawings. One of the best pens is the Signo from Uniball. It’s my absolute favorite and also the one I use whenever I color with sketches or markers.
The other one is Uni Posca Extra Fine Marker.
If you’re planning to get on board with digital inking, you either need a PC and Drawing Board Combo or a Tablet with a stylus.
For a pen tablet, a good option is the Wacom Intuos This is the one that I am currently using and it is the most affordable option if you’re a beginner digital artist.
In case you think you cannot do without a screen and are able to shell out a couple more dollars, Cintiq 16 is the one to opt for. With 8192 pressure levels and tilt recognition, it truly is one of the best at its price (and also the next in my Display Pen Tablet wishlist).
If you’d rather have something other than the Wacom Products, the XP-Pen Artist22E Pro is the new monster in town with 8192 pressure levels.
For a standalone alternative, opt for a tablet device suitable for drawing. The iPad mini is probably the most affordable iPad for drawing. You must have come across this combo numerous times since a lot of artists use this along with the Procreate app.
If you have made your decision regarding the medium and the inking supplies that you’re going to use, you should now think of ideas and ways to participate in Inktober.
I guess I have done some of the ‘thinking’ job for you. Here are some interesting ideas you can make use of.
7 Unique Ways to Participate in Inktober 2020
1. Create Comics
Oh, yes! A little twist is never too bad.
So, how about using the prompts of #inktober2020 to create comics in ink? You don’t have to follow the prompts every day, working with a couple of them throughout the month is fine too.
The comics can be anything from a single frame to multi-frame ones. If you’re wondering how to ink comics, then you should totally check out Cassandra Calin, the goddess of Insta comics.
Think of ways you can incorporate the prompts into comics and make some of your own.
2. Drawings with Backstories
This is somewhat similar to the idea above since it involves storytelling. However, there’s one thing which sets it apart from the former idea.
Study the list of prompts, brainstorm and then try to link them together. Create a mini story that is stitched together by those prompts and then draw one scene (based on one prompt) every day and write bits of the backstory in the captions that follow.
If you have an Original Character (OC), you can make use of it or work on a new one specifically designed for Inktober.
Just answer some of the basic questions about your OC(s) and piece them into your story. These questions can be related to:
- their identity: name/age/gender/preferences/physical appearance
- their past/ important incidents
- fears/ strengths
- likes/ dislikes
You don’t have to get too much into it, you can just create a random character and draw a scene based on the prompt with them every day.
Or, you can draw different characters with different backstories based on the prompts. The options are endless, choose one and give it a go.
3. Simple Doodles
The ideas listed above are a bit time consuming and not all of us have that kind of time to invest in this 31 days challenge. For all those who might not be able to spare time for Inktober but still want to participate, doodling is the way to go.
You can create simple, mini doodles every day or as and when you are free.
These are my favorite kind of illustrations. Just pick a prompt, think of other things which can go in with that and compose something based on that.
From abstract to more conceptual, meaningful art, anything can fit in here. Brainstorm a bit, or go ahead with a spontaneous flow and what for the final art piece to bloom.
Art doesn’t come with restrictions, there’s an infinity of ideas that lies with it. Who said you have to be good at drawing to participate in Inktober? If you are somebody who is not comfortable with sketching, you can always work on your other skills. After all, it’s about improving on a skill, right?
If Calligraphy/ Lettering is what you’re made for, go for it!
Never too old to try, right?
6. Two Prompts into One
Drawing daily can be tedious…so why not divide the challenge and draw based on two prompts at a time?
You don’t have to make use of the prompts in the order that they are being listed, pick any two at a time and create!
7. All Prompts into One
For my busy bees, who have ideas and ideas but not enough time to work on those- combine all those ideas together and ink something based on this giant prompt.
Here’s something similar made by Jake during Inktober in 2018:
It’s in fact a genius way of working your way through the prompts.
If you’re willing to participate this year, go for it. The ideas are endless. You can make use of any of these or think of something of your own.
Remember that it’s about having fun so do not burn yourself out. Any kind of entry is valid as long as you’re enjoying and practicing. if you do not want to follow any prompt list, you can always draw anything, even if it’s once a month.
Have fun inking!